Paris — 23 September 2015

Today is an take-it-easy day. We walk around beautiful Luxembourg Gardens, just around the corner from our apartment. Howard takes pictures with his new camera. We have a simple lunch at home: cheese, pate, bread and wine.

Four o’clock is our cooking class.

Cooking School
Cooking School

Eric is the Chef. We meet Cynthia and Bruce from Seattle right away. We are surprised to discover that Cynthia’s mother lives the next town over from Ashland; Cynthia was born in Ashland. Another couple is from Boulder and there are 2 woman who immediately are annoying and stay that way the entire class.

Eric is taking us to the street market and we will choose items for dinner. Everyone but one of the annoying women (AW) wants meat of some kind. The AW just insists on seafood. What a jerk! But Chef accedes to her wishes. We buy vegetables (carrots, romesco: a green swirly cauliflower, red peppers, leeks, mushrooms, fennel, onions, butternut squash, fresh herbs, potatoes), cod and cheese. We take a little tour around the neighborhood and Eric points out several sights. We visit the bakery he likes and he tells us about the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France,” a prestigious award in France that can be given for any trade. In the case of a bakery, the bakers compete for the award; they practice for months. The winner is able to use the designation for the rest of their life. So if you see a bakery with the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” sign you can assume that it is an excellent bakery.

Our menu is:
1st course: Butternut squash soup topped with slightly whipped cream flavored with a little nutmeg and cinnamon and poured over sautéed mushrooms.
2nd course: Cod en papillote–cod on a bed of very small matchstick size pieces of carrots, fennel, leeks and small pieces of romansco. A splash of olive oil and wine is added and then the fish and veggies are encased in foil. It’s cooked at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes and served with a sauce of onions and red peppers (the peppers and onions are sautéed and then simmered in a lot of creme and puréed into a sauce. Mashed potatoes with chives are molded into a perfect disc and served with the fish.
3rd course: 3 cheeses–Comté, Reblochon and an aged goat cheese.
4th course: Chocolate lava cake “swimming” in creme anglais.

Eric was funny and certainly did a great job of creating the menu on the spot and making sure everything was completed at the right time. As we were leaving, Cynthia and Bruce whispered to me Should we tip him? I said I had not thought about it and did not have any cash! So poor Eric got no tips (I didn’t see anyone else tip him). But we all gave him a hearty Merci!

Before we split up, Cynthia and Bruce said they were interested in the Champagne tour we told everyone about. We exchanged phone numbers and I’ll call the tour company to see if there are two more openings.

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